Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

145

This hive of science, shedding sweets divine,
Of active arts, and animated arms.
There, passionate for Me, an easy-mov'd,
A quick, refin'd, a delicate, humane,
Enlighten’d people reign'd. Oft on the brink
Of ruin, hurry'd by the charın of ipeech,
Inforcing hasty counsel inmature,
Totter'd the rash democracy; unpois'd,

150
And by the rage devour'd, that ever tears
A populace unequal; part too rich,
And part or fierce with want or abject grown.
Solon, at last, their mild restorer, rose:
Allay'd the tempeft; to the calm of laws

1:$ Reduc'd the settling whole; and, with the weight Which the two fenates to the public lent, As with an anchor fix'd the driving state.

Nor was my forming care to these confin'd. For emulation through the whole I pour’d, 160 Noble contention! who should most excel In government well-poisid, adjusted best To public weal: in countries cultur’d high : In ornamented towns, where order reigns, Free social life, and polish'd manners fair: 165 In exercise, and arms; arms only drawn For common Greece, to quell the Persian pride : In moral science, and in graceful arts. Hence, as for glory peacefully they strove, The prize grew greater, and the prize of all.

170 By contest brighten’d, hence the radiant youth Pour'd every beam ; by generous pride inflam'd,

Felt

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

18.

Felt
every

ardour burn: their great reward
The verdant wreathe, which sounding Pisa gave.

Hence flourish'd Greece ; and hence a race of men,
As gods by conscious future times ador'd :
In whom each virtue wore a smiling air,
Each science shed o'er life a friendly light,
Each art was nature. Spartan valour hence,
At the fam'd pass, firm as an isthmus stood;
And the whole eastern ocean, waving far
As eye could dart it's vision, nobly check’d.
While in extended battle, at the field
Of Marathon, my keen Athenians drove
Before their ardent band, an host of Naves.

Hence through the continent ten thousand Greeks
Urg'd a retreat, whose glory not the prime
Of victories can reach. Deserts, in vain,
Oppos’d their course; and hostile lands, unknown;
And dcep rapacious floods, dire-bank'd with death ;
And mountains, in whose jaws destruction grin'd
Hunger, and toil; Armenian snows, and storms;
And circling myriads still of barbarous foes.
Greece in their view, and glory yet untouch’d,
Their steady column pierc'd the scattering herds, 195
Which a whole empire pour’d; and held its way
Triumphant, by the Sage-exalted Chief
Fir'd and sustain'd. Oh, light and force of mind,
Almost almighty in severe extremes !
The fea at laft from Colchian mountains seen,
Kind-hearted transport round their captains threw
The soldiers fond embrace; o'erflow'd their eyes

200

210

With tender floods, and loos’d the general voice
To cries resounding loud-The sea! the sea!

In Attic bounds hence heroes, sages, wits, 205
Shone thick as Itars, the milky way of Greece !
And though gay wit, and pleasing grace, was theirs,
All the soft modes of elegance and ease;
Yet was not courage less, the patient touch
Of toiling art, and disquisition deep.

My Spirit pours a vigour through the soul
Thunfetter'd thought with energy inspires,
Invincible in arts, in the bright field
Of nobler science, as in that of arms.
Athenians thus not less intrepid burst

215
The bonds of tyrant darkness, than they spurn'd
The Persian chains : while through the city, full
Of mirthful quarrel and of witty war,
Incessant struggled taste refining taste,
And friendly free discussion, calling forth
From the fair jewel Truth its latent ray.
O'er all thone out the great Athenian Sage,
And father of philosophy: the sun,
From whose white blaze emerg'd each various feet
Took various tints, but with diminish'd beam.

225 Tutor of Athens ! he, in every street, Dealt priceless treasure: goodness his delight, Wisdom his wealth, and glory his reward. Deep through the human heart, with playful art, His fimple question stole: as into truth,

230 And serious deeds, he smild the laughing race ; Taught moral happy life, whate'er can bless,

22

Or Or grace

mankind; and what he taught he was. Compounded high, though plain, his doctrine broke In different schools. The bold poetic plırase

235 Of figur'd Plato; Xenophon's pure ftrain, Like the clear brook that steals along the vale ; Dissecting truth, the Stagyrite's keen eye; Th’exalted Stoic pride; the Cynic sneer; The Now-consenting Academic doubt ;

240 And, joining bliss to virtue, the glad ease Of Epicurus, feldom understood. They, ever-candid, reason ftill oppos’d To reason; and, since virtue was their aim, Each by sure practice try'd to prove his way 245 The best. Then stood untouch'd the folid base Of Liberty, the liberty of mind : For systems yet, and soul-enslaving creeds, Slept with the monsters of succeeding times. From priestly darkness sprung th’ enlightening arts 250 Of fire, and sword, and rage, and horrid names.

O, Greece! thou fapient nurse of Finer Arts ! Which to bright science blooming fancy bore, Be this thy praise, that Thou, and Thou alone, In these has led the way, in these excelld, 255 Crown'd with the laurel of assenting time.

In thy full language, speaking mighty things ; Like a clear torrent close, or else diffus'd A broad majestic stream, and rolling on Through all the winding harmony of sound: 260 In it the power of Eloquence, at large, Breath'd tlic perfuafive or pathetic foul;

Stillid

1

Still'd by degrees the democratic storm,
Or bade it threatening rise, and tyrants shook,
Flush'd at the head of their victorious troops. 265
In it the Muse, her fury never quench’d,
By mean unyielding phrase, or jarring found,
Her unconfin’d divinity display'd;
And, still harmonious, form'd it to her will:
Or foft depress’d it to the shepherd's moan,

270 Or rais'd it swelling to the tongue of gods.

Heroic song was thine; the Fountain-Bard,
Whence each poetic stream derives its course.
Thine the dread moral scene, thy chief delight!
Where idle Fancy durft not mix her voice,

275
When Reason spoke august; the fervent heart
Or plain’d, or storm'd; and in th’impassion'd man,
Concealing art with art, the poet sunk.
This potent school of manners, but when left
To loose neglect, a land-corrupting plague, 280
Was not unworthy deem'd of public care,
And boundless cost, by thee ; whose every son,
Ev'n last mechanic, the true taste poffess'd
Of what had flavour to the nourish'd soul.
The sweet enforcer of the poet's strain,

285
Thine was the meaning music of the heart.
Not the vain trill, that, void of passion, runs
In giddy mazes, tickling idle ears ;
But that deep-searching voice, and artful hand,
To which respondent shakes the varied soul.

290
Thy fair ideas, thy delightful forms,
By Love imagin’d, by the Graces touch’d,

The

« ПредишнаНапред »